HYBRID and electric are the current buzzwords in motoring but great strides forward with economical petrol engines seem to have been somewhat overlooked.
Now that is a shame because many modern petrol cars can achieve amazing mpg figures which could only have been dreamt of a few decades ago.
If, like me, you are of a certain age then you will have memories of cars which struggled to hit 20mpg and others that were lauded for a figure of 30 – mind you, when I started driving petrol was 37p…. a gallon!
Well our latest test car is a family-sized hatchback/crossover yet during a week of very mixed driving the new Citroen C4 returned an average of around 50mpg – while with a little more care nearer to 60 would be possible. The diesel version has a claimed 76mpg!
That is with no extra hybrid power or fancy plug in capabilities – just the latest advances aimed at squeezing every last mile out of that ever more expensive go juice.
Citroën has introduced a number of important updates on their ë-C4 and C4 for 2022 which include a revised model line-up, improved efficiency for ë-C4 electric, new alloy wheel designs and body colours.
The new ë-C4 electric now has a 217 mile range from its 50KWh Lithium-ion battery and makes up over a fifth of all new C4 orders.
However – as I say don’t overlook the super economical petrol and diesel versions which are several thousand pounds cheaper – our Sense Plus – PureTech 130 is £22.270 on the road.
All models also now have new alloy wheels and are pretty well equipped, getting dual-zone climate control, cruise control, rear parking sensors and adjustable lumbar support on the driver’s seat. There’s also a 10.0in touchscreen infotainment system while standard safety kit includes automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assist.
Stepping up to our Sense Plus trim brings sat-nav, a rear-view camera, LED interior lighting and a head-up display that projects speed and other key information into your line of sight.
While it’s not a quick car the 128bhp its turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol engine produces is more than enough to satisfy most and pulls well from low revs. It is also smooth for a three-cylinder unit.
The C4 may be family hatchback size but pumped-up wheel arches and high seating are SUV-like while that curved roofline is more coupé… all of which helps it stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
All C4’s also have Citroën’s Progressive Hydraulic Cushion suspension and Advance Comfort seats so the ride is great while not compromising handling and keen pricing plus decent standard kit mean it offers good value for money.
Petrol power options are a single 1.2-litre PureTech engine available in 99bhp, 128bhp or 153bhp form. The least-powerful version comes with a six-speed manual gearbox, while the most potent 153bhp car has an eight-speed auto. The 1.5-litre diesel unit is offered with either 109bhp or 128bhp.
Prices for the combustion-engine C4 range start from just over £21,000, rising to around £28,000 for the top-spec versions. The trim line-up starts with the well-equipped Sense followed by the Sense Plus, Shine and Shine Plus which get luxuries such as leather upholstery and heated front seats.
So with those great mpg numbers plus low emissions the combustion engine is not quite dead yet – especially as to buy an electric version will cost you between £33,000 and £35,000 before the government’s plug-in car grant of £2,500.
By Motoring Editor Steve Howarth